Chang Ganfan, born in 1904 in Jiangsu, graduated from Jinling University in 1930. After that, he worked for Jiangsu Insect Bureau and Jinling University. In 1940, Cheng came to the University of Minnesota and received a master degree in entomology in 1943.
After returning to China, Cheng served as profess and dean of Department of Plan Insect and Disease at Jinling University. Then he taught successively at Nanjing Agricultural College and Zhejiang Agricultural University.
Cheng once served as the president of the Entomological Society of China and the 4th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Zhejiang.
Cheng is regarded as a pioneer and founder of Chinese Cicadidae Classification Research.